238 firm workers get P9.4-M benefits thru DOLE intervention

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay -- Some 238 workers of Meralco Industrial Engineering Services Corp. (Miescor) have received PHP9.4 million in separation pay through the Single Entry Approach (SEnA) mechanism of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Bicol.

Rovelinda dela Rosa, officer-in-charge regional director of DOLE 5 (Bicol), in an interview Tuesday, said the grant was the product of close coordination and constant dialogue among DOLE personnel, Tiwi Mayor Jaime Villanueva, employees involved, and the Miescor management.

“This materialized after one inspection and three dialogues, including this award that transpired by and between the LGU (local government unit) of Tiwi, Miescor and DOLE-5,” dela Rosa said.

“We want to provide clients with immediate and viable solutions through this mechanism to prevent full-blown labor and employment disputes,” she pointed out.

Out of 238 employees, 236 have received their separation pay checks, which translated to a 99.16 percent successful release. The other two employees were not able to get their respective checks because they were out of the region during the distribution.

"Issue resolved during the mediation period is whether or not the employees, being 'project-based', are entitled to separation pay," dela Rosa said.

Under the decision, Miescor was required to give the necessary separation pay for at least half a month’s salary for every year of service or one month’s salary, whichever is higher, including but not limited to service incentive, leave pay, holiday pay, incentives, final pay and other emoluments due the employees.

The workers expressed their gratitude to DOLE upon receiving their monetary entitlements. Some of them said they would use the amount for their planned business and for other personal expenses.

“Masaya po ako at natanggap na po namin ang separation pay at nakikita ko na nakangiti na ang mga empleyado. Nagpapasalamat po ako sa DOLE-5 at naging maayos ang aming pag-uusap (I’m happy that we have received our separation pay. I see all employees wearing their smiles of gratitude. I thank DOLE-5 for their intervention and for facilitating and ensuring a smooth proceeding),” said Maria Aileen Berces-Cuera, HR coordinator for three years in Miescor.

SEnA is an administrative approach to provide a speedy, impartial, inexpensive, and accessible settlement procedure for all issues/complaints arising from employer-employee relations to prevent them from ripening into full-blown disputes.

Under this approach, all labor and employment disputes shall undergo a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation process to effect settlement among the contending parties.

Any aggrieved worker, union, group of workers, or the employer may file a request for assistance with the labor department.

Meanwhile, DOLE’s office in Albay will evaluate the possible livelihood interventions to qualified displaced workers of Miescor as additional benefits for them. (PNA)